Thursday, April 9, 2009

Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice--by Anonymous
Anonymous. Go Ask Alice. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1998.
Originally published by:
New York: Avon, 1971.
(Image Credit: Cape May County Library, Cape May Court House)

"Even now I'm not really sure which parts of myself are real and which parts are things I've gotten from books." (Anonymous, pg. 11)

Go Ask Alice reveals a diary of a fifteen-year-old girl who experiences many of the emotions, discomforts, and self-doubt that many young adults encounter during their adolescence. What sets Alice apart from some of her peers, is the fact that she, rather unexpectedly, discovers how drugs can help her cope with certain feelings. In the beginning of her story, Alice is at a point in her life where she wants to be liked by a boy, have closer friends, be pretty and popular, and be more in tune with her parents. When her family moves to a new town, Alice sees an opportunity to reinvent herself and transform her life. However, all too soon reality sets in and she is left feeling the same disappoints and awkwardness about who she is and her social life. She describes how she uses food to cope with her emotions, and perhaps, she is also predicting her tendency to use things outside of talking to friends or family to deal with her feelings.

Accidentally at a party, Alice soon discovers how drugs are a great outlet and she can cast her bad self-confidence aside. She becomes popular among her friends. She is no longer shy. Boys like her. Yet, the utopia she has found doesn’t last long and soon Alice finds herself far from home. She is habitually using drugs, and allowing others to use her as well. She will become strung-out, homeless, abused, and a victim of sexual assaults. She wants to get clean, but her self-doubt runs deep, and her drug addiction runs deeper.

Alice’s journey through drug abuse, and later trying to become clean, illustrates how her problem affects all that surround her. She descends down a painful spiral that hurts all who know her, as well as some who are only inadvertently affected by her actions. Her story describes how drugs allow her to temporarily escape reality, only to return to it with more pain and guilt than she has ever experienced. Will she be able to overcome or demons, or her drug-induced experiences haunt her to the point she will only continue to abuse drugs to try and escape them? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
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